"Purr" Words

I've obliquely referred to this subject many times in the past couple of years and now is the time to direct our complete attention to the issue. The people that control the debate in America employ these tricks constantly in order to ensure that the sheep in the nation follow in lock step. It's just words, they'd tell you.

Consider the following lead sentence in a front page article in the Wall Street Journal; "The reformers who have taken over Congress are about to change the way government, as we know it, operates."

This sentence is not, as most would guess, the beginning of an article about the Republican take-over of Congress in 1994. No, this was the first line in a report about the Democrats who were elected in 1964 and who pushed through the legislation which resulted in Lyndon Johnson's Great Society.

The word "reformer", as you can see, can be used to describe those who create as well as those who destroy. It is a friendly word when it is used to describe those whom you support, but is misused if you do not support the actions summarized.

"Job Creation and Wage Enhancement Act". Wow, that's something all working and unemployed Americans will support and urge their representative to vote for, right? Actually, the act contains absolutely no reference to wages or jobs, whatsoever. It is a bill designed to nearly zero out capital gains taxes, a tax that falls very softly on the workers of this nation and not at all on the unemployed.

These are called "purr words", gentle readers. Words which resonate with positive feelings, forward movement and values. Words which, as in the novels "1984" and "Alice in Wonderland", mean only what the speaker chooses them to mean. Words like "flexible" or "proud" or "courage" are purr words. Consider the following; "The proud, right leaning Democrats in the Senate, today, found the courage to become flexible in their votes on Welfare Reform". Read another way, the same sentence would proclaim; "A renegade group of neo-Republican Democrats abandoned the party's historic protection of the poor and voted for the misnamed 'Welfare Reform Bill'". It's just words?

How about the statement "Labor costs tests the patience of Caterpillar management". Again, what if the statement read "Caterpillar, one of America's most profitable corporations, is complaining about labor's demand to share in its record profits"?

From the New York Times comes this amazing front page headline, "Proud but Cornered, Mobutu Can Only Hope". Of course, the CIA (the NYT's buddy) installed this monstrosity and supported this genocidal maniac and plunderer of his nation's treasury until his 1997 overthrow. Was Saddam Hussein "Proud" in his refusal to back down from the U.S. forces? Was Nikita Kruschev ever called "Proud" in headlines for his opposition to American ideals? Is Kin Il Sung "Proud" in his refusal to open up the state of North Korea? Finally, would the arch-conservatives in this area consider me "Proud" for my refusal to stop writing this column even in the face of earlier death threats?

In the Mideast, those countries who support capitalism and Israel are described as "moderate" and "progressive" while those who oppose our way of life are "dictators" and "tyrants" and "terrorists" and "fanatics". Saudi Arabia, a nation of absolutely no press or personal freedoms is described as " a center of stability" and "a moderate, pro-Western nation", even though they adamantly refuse to share intelligence information and require American citizens to follow their religious customs and codes. However, they do purchase massive amounts of American made weapons of mass destruction, so they must be fine folks.

Finally, whatever the political program of the day in America is becomes a "moderate" program when adopted by other nations. The French enacted "moderate" policies in the 60's and 70's when they began to defend their poor and jobless. These same French people were recently described as "moderate" when they attempted to dismantle their programs which provided safety nets for their citizens.

We must constantly be aware of the Orwellian misuse of the language and the desire of many in America to subvert the goodness that I believe is our true nature. When "collateral damage" really means "dead civilians" or "reform" means "punish", we are a nation in very deep spiritual trouble. Only education can save us but, since teachers can become a negative campaign issue in Bush's failed election attempt while nobodies like Arnold Swartzenagger give speeches on politics as if they actually have any intelligence off screen, this nation is on a quick trip to the bottom.

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Copyright 6/20/97